President Trump on Friday mocked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) by posting a video using clips from the Disney movie “Pinocchio” to imply that the House Intelligence chairman had been lying about a whistleblower who filed a complaint relating to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
The clip uses footage of statements Schiff has made about the whistleblower interspersed with footage of Pinocchio’s nose growing. It ends with the Blue Fairy, a character in the film, saying to Pinocchio “perhaps you haven’t been telling the truth.”
“But I have, every single word,” replied the puppet, whose nose had grown significantly.
“LYIN’ SHIFTY SCHIFF!” Trump tweeted with the video clip, using a name for the Democratic congressman who is helping lead House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against him.
LYIN’ SHIFTY SCHIFF! pic.twitter.com/vSZgFz9fIS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2019
Earlier Friday, the The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” column gave Schiff four Pinocchios for saying that his committee had “not spoken directly with the whistleblower.”
Trump allies have hammered Schiff over the remark, which he made in an MSNBC interview last month, after The New York Times reported this week that the whistleblower had talked with staff for Schiff’s committee before filing the complaint.
“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to,” Schiff said on Sept. 17. “But I am sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised, as the law requires, by the inspector general or the director of national Intelligence just how he is supposed to communicate with Congress, and so the risk to the whistleblower is retaliation.”
The Post said Schiff’s comment was “flat-out false,” and gave him four Pinocchios, a ranking given to statements that the column considers most egregious.
A spokesperson for the House Intelligence Committee told the Post that Schiff’s answer in the MSNBC interview “should have been more carefully phrased.”
“Regarding Chairman Schiff’s comments on ‘Morning Joe,’ in the context, he intended to answer the question of whether the Committee had heard testimony from the whistleblower, which they had not,” the spokesperson told the newspaper.
“As he said in his answer, the whistleblower was then awaiting instructions from the Acting [Director of National Intelligence] as to how the whistleblower could contact the Committee. Nonetheless he acknowledges that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear.”
The whistleblower complaint said that Trump “sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader,” Volodymyr Zelensky, into probing former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
Trump requested the investigation during a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian leader that came while Trump was withholding military assistance for the country that had been approved by Congress.
The whistleblower’s complaint is now at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump.